Arsenal forward Joel Campbell wanted to leave the club during the summer transfer window after becoming an increasingly peripheral figure in north London, manager Arsene Wenger has revealed. The Costa Rica international has started the Gunners' last two games, scoring in the 3-0 win at Swansea City in the absence of newly injured pair Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Campbell made just 10 appearances for the club during the first half of the 2014-15 season after being promised a central role in Wenger's plans following his performances at the World Cup, leading to him joining Villarreal on loan in the January transfer window. Despite the north London club failing to sign an outfield player during the summer, Campbell was fearful he would again be marginalised during the new season.
Italian side Palermo were linked with a move for him and Wenger admits the player did want to leave Arsenal during the off-season. However, after Campbell impressed sufficiently in the Capital One Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday to start the Premier League trip to Swansea amid injuries to Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wenger is optimistic over his future.
"I think he wanted to go [in the summer] because he didn't play, which you can understand and as well because he didn't play at all," the Arsenal boss admitted, according to the Evening Standard. "Sometimes people want you to buy more and more players but after a while you have to look at your own players.
"He comes from Costa Rica. To get out of there and to come to [England] and to go different leagues and survive, you need some character and he has shown that again today. In our job, all you can do is be ready and when you get your chance, take it and I think he did.
"When he came back he was on the [Arsenal] waiting list and finally he got the chance and I'm very happy for him. I think he worked very hard, defended very well, created chances in the first half - he had that shot that was not that far off. He had another shot and in the second half he scored a goal and on top of that he worked very hard."